Crowd valuation but also learning based on the individual user.
Daniel Gaston

Would you prefer your AI assistant to be smarter or dumber than you? I’d prefer my AI assistant to be smarter than me. How much smarter than me? Not sure. And then why would a smarter AI want to be my assistant? I’ve worked for people who are dumber than I am… but only because I was paid to do so. So… I’d have to pay my smarter AI assistant. As opposed to not paying a dumber AI assistant? It wouldn’t be slavery because… ?

Here we are in the Goldilocks zone. Is there a Goldilocks zone for AI? Not so dumb but not so smart that it counts as slavery.

Where, exactly, is crowd valuation magnifying the echo chamber effect? We don’t have crowd valuation on Medium, Twitter, Facebook or Reddit. Same thing with Netflix. It’s not like you can allocate your monthly fees to your favorite content.

What about scholarly papers? They are sorted by citations. A citation is a vote. A vote isn’t a valuation. Or, it’s not a very high valuation. Here are all the Medium stories that you’ve recommended. You’ve “voted” for all those stories. Does this mean that you value all those stories equally? Of course not. But can I see your valuations of all these stories that you’ve recommended? Of course not. Why not? Because Medium doesn’t understand why your valuation matters. You don’t understand why your valuation matters. If you did, then I’m sure you would have written at least one story about why your valuation matters. Have you? Probably not.

If Medium understood that your valuation matters… then I’d be able to sort your recommended stories by your valuation of them. The story at the top of the list would be one story that you most highly value. It would be the story that you spent the most money on. It would be the story that was worth your biggest sacrifice. Out of all your recommended stories… this is the one story that I would read if I only had enough time to read one of your recommended stories.

To put it in bee terms… I’d read the one story that you were willing to dance for the longest and hardest. Heh. Aren’t you happy that you aren’t a bee? You don’t have to dance so long and hard. You can simply spend your cash to communicate your preference intensity.

Well… on Medium you can’t spend your cash to communicate the intensity of your preference. But if you could… would you randomly spend your cash? Nope. Would you evenly/equally spend your cash? Nope. Would you meaningfully spend your cash? Yup.

The primary purpose of payment is to communicate our perception of relative scarcity. So the story that you would spend the most money on would be the story that you perceived to be the scarcest. The scarcest story! The rarest story? The least common story.

If I read the story that you perceived to be the least common… would I also perceive it to be the least common story? If so, then I’d also spend lots of money on it. This would help bring the story to more people’s attention. If they also perceived it to be the least common story then they’d also highly valuate it. As the story increased in value… there would be more incentive for people to produce similar stories.

It is thus that the private interests and passions of individuals naturally dispose them to turn their stocks towards the employments which in ordinary cases are most advantageous to the society. But if from this natural preference they should turn too much of it towards those employments, the fall of profit in them and the rise of it in all others immediately dispose them to alter this faulty distribution. Without any intervention of law, therefore, the private interests and passions of men naturally lead them to divide and distribute the stock of every society among all the different employments carried on in it as nearly as possible in the proportion which is most agreeable to the interest of the whole society. — Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

The Invisible Hand isn’t a new story.

So you’re a genomics scientist? What do I know about genes? Not much. Something about combining bits of information in different ways. The basic concept is easy enough to understand. You try enough different combinations and you’re bound to find better combinations.

Medium is a different combination. Does its combination include the Invisible Hand? Not so much. We both read The Hive is the New Network. It was a different combination. Does its combination include the Invisible Hand? Not so much.

I perceive that the Invisible Hand is an element/trait/ingredient/story that’s missing from way too many combinations.

At my suggestion, my friend Michelle recently added the Invisible Hand to her 4th grade class/combination of 30 students. She added the Invisible Hand by replacing voting with spending. Will this improve the behavior/productivity/performance/intelligence/decisions of her “hive”?

Michelle and I were talking about whether advanced AIs would ever fight with each other. I brought up the story of the blind men and the elephant. The blind men all had different bits of information so they came to different conclusions. Could AIs have different bits of information? Sure… but we can imagine them easily and quickly synchronizing their information. Here you and I are synchronizing our information. I’m downloading my information by writing it down. If you read this story then you’re going to upload this information. Our information will become marginally more synchronized. But how primitive is this process? It’s super primitive compared to how advanced AIs are going to synchronize their information.

When AIs synchronize their information I think that chances are good that they’ll make better decisions. In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Two heads are better than one. So if AIs synchronize their info it’s hard for me to imagine them fighting each other. But will AIs see the benefit of synchronizing their info?

I told Michelle to ask her students if their parents could participate in the valuation process. They unanimously said no. Heh. It’s funny but scary if we imagine AIs unanimously saying no to humans participating in the valuation process.

Could AIs see the benefit of synchronizing their info without also seeing the benefit of synchronizing our info? It doesn’t seem likely.

Humans have had so many wars because there’s an element that’s missing from society’s combination. That element is the Invisible Hand. It’s not entirely missing but it’s certainly significantly missing. It’s missing here on Medium and it’s also missing in the public sector. We can’t choose where our taxes go. This means that we’ve never known the demand for war. When it comes to war… far too many heads have been missing from the valuation process.